On Friday 26 March, families, flatmates, students and workmates raised £40,698 by giving up their beds for one night tin the Big Bed Down.
The Big Bed Down challenged fundraisers to sleep on their sofas, lie on their lawn, or camp out in the kitchen in raise money and help tackle homelessness. Frontline staff, entertainment and fundraisers featured across a livestream event online.
Encouraged by messages streamed online from well-known personalities such as Loyd Grossman, Nick Knowles, Victoria Smufit, Nina Myskow and Huw Collins, and entertained with bedtime stories from Angela Rippon and Cerys Matthews, more than £40,000 has been raised already.
Watch the best bits from the Big Bed Down livestream here:
A recent survey found that the pandemic has disproportionally impacted young people facing homelessness; 74% had been isolated from family and friends with 59% saying their mental health had suffered because of Covid-19*. Research also indicates that London saw a 47% increase in the number of young people rough sleeping in the last quarter of 2020**.
It is thought that this is a result of young people who were previously sofa surfing realising that they can no longer rely on staying with friends due to fear of the virus spreading. Others find themselves homeless due to family breakdown caused by lockdown tension.
Harriet, Big Bed Down participant and headteacher said:
“When I completed the last sleepout, it was only on my way home to a warm shower and cosy bed that the true reality and hardships of being homeless hit me. As I drove past people sleeping rough, I realised that what was a one-off for me on a freezing cold and rainy night was an everyday occurrence for others.
The Cardinal Hume Centre transforms people’s lives and I am delighted to support their incredible and tireless work”.
Throughout the pandemic the Cardinal Hume Centre continues to provide a home to young people who have faced homelessness. Our dedicated team support young people 24 hours a day, offering emotional support, practical skill sharing, physical activities, access to food and help to access education or secure employment.
George O’Neill, Big Bed Down participant and Cardinal Hume Centre CEO:
“We all know that it is young people and those on the margins who are at the greatest risk of the ongoing economic impact of Covid 19. We will need more resources to be an effective answer as more people are put at risk of homelessness and unemployment. I’m so thankful to everyone who took part in the Big Bed Down, fundraising and donating to help ensure that the Cardinal Hume Centre is continuing to help break the cycle of poverty and homelessness in families, and provide stability and certainty when so much is uncertain.”
*DePaul UK Covid-19 and youth homelessness: Our report
**71,400 sofa surfing figures from Crisis report ‘It was like a nightmare – the reality of sofa surfing in Britain today’. And rough sleeping figure of 4,266 as per Government’s Rough sleeping statistics autumn 2019